Architectural technologists have drafting skills that they use to assist architects. Entering this field typically requires a certificate, associate's or bachelor's degree. These programs provide education in the necessary technology, such as CAD, as well as design and construction management principles.
Architectural technologists help architects design buildings and other construction projects. Technologists combine their technical skill with expertise in facility systems to review conceptual drawings and site plans. These professionals work for construction management, engineering and architecture firms.
|Required Education||Certificate; associate's or bachelor's degree may be required by some employers|
|Additional Requirements||AutoCAD or CD certification may be required by some employers|
|Projected Job Growth* (2014-2024)||-3% for architectural and civil drafters|
|Median Salary* (2015)||$50,710 annually for architectural and civil drafters|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Prospective candidates may choose from certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree programs in order to become an architectural technologist. Certificate programs are the shortest of the three and typically take 6-12 months to complete. Programs commence with introductory courses, such as structural fundamentals, design theory and residential drawing. Students typically take at least one basic computer-aided design (CAD) course in order to begin their training on using computer software to design buildings and other structures.
Associate's degree and bachelor's degree programs in architectural technology provide further training in architecture, construction and design principles through intermediate and advanced courses in structural components, surveying and building codes. Students focus on design principles and construction management, including building materials, cost estimation and building systems. Advanced CAD courses allow students to hone their skills in designing residential homes, commercial buildings and other layouts. Additionally, some programs incorporate project management courses that utilize construction case studies and provide students with an opportunity to design or present an architectural project.
College graduates can enter the workforce as architectural technologists, civil drafters or construction managers. These professionals may be responsible for creating drawings, scaling sketches and ensuring that designs are compliant with government regulations, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act. Those employed in construction management focus on researching structural materials, meeting with clients to ascertain design requirements and preparing project bids. Additionally, architectural technologists examine HVAC, electrical and other building systems in order to ensure that safety and cost-effective requirements are met.
Although no specific certifications designed for architectural technologists exist, candidates may consider becoming certified in AutoCAD software or attaining credentials as an Architectural Certified Drafter (CD). While not required for employment, job seekers may use these credentials to help qualify their skills and enhance employment opportunities. AutoCAD and CD certification are based on successful completion of a credentialing examination.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
In 2015, architectural and civil drafters earned an annual median salary of $50,710, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). From 2014-2024, the BLS predicted slow job growth of -3% for drafters.
An architectural technologist with a certificate or degree in this field typically has knowledge of CAD technology, design theory, construction techniques and building principles. They can assist architects or pursue jobs in construction management and civil drafting. However, this latter career field is expected to decline over the next ten years.